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nullPointer
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by nullPointer Mon Jan 19, 2015 3:04 pm

The list so far ...
3. Richard and Alice (PC/Steam)

Richard and Alice
After playing through an undisputed classic like Link to the Past, it was time to flip the script and seek out something completely different and much less well known as a pallet cleanser. Richard and Alice strikes me as a hybrid mix of point & click adventure meets visual novel. Let's start out with the high points here. The story of Richard and Alice is absolutely compelling with a particular high note being the well written dialog between characters. The conversational segments in the game flow naturally and realistically. At no point did the dialog seem stilted or poorly written. This is a particularly notable feat when one considers the amount of dialog between Alice and her 5 (and a half!) year old son Barney. It's hard to write children's dialog between parent and child in such a way that it seems natural. Most novels can't get this sort of thing right, let alone the medium of video games. I think you almost have to be a parent yourself in order to effectively write this sort of dialog, and IMO Richard and Alice excels at it. Creating emotional connection between the player and the in game characters is critical to this games success, and thankfully it nails this part.

The game also presents itself as an interesting piece of sci-fi. The near future dystopia has been done to death for ages untold at this point, but Richard and Alice neatly avoids most of the typical tropes and clichés of this setting in that it never waves its world around in your face. The setting here merely serves as a backdrop for the unfolding human drama, but for the most part leaves the concrete dystopian details as part of that backdrop. It's a largely successful approach as it (rightly, IMO) assumes most players are sophisticated enough to be well versed in the rules of such a world by virtue of previous exposure in the form of other games, film, and books. It effectively tells you what you need to know of the world in order to move the plot along and leaves the rest to imagination.

The gameplay is largely successful but equally does falter in some areas. The point and click adventure elements here are fairly straight forward and rote. There are only three relatively confined areas to explore in the game (four if you're feeling exceedingly generous). Further, the level of interactivity in these areas is limited in such a way as to effectively move you from point A to point B in the story without a lot of tarrying about. If you're seeking a richly vibrant, highly interactive point & click title, Richard and Alice is not necessarily going to give you that. The world here exists as a plot device, and the interactive elements within that world are strictly limited to those that serve the plot in some way. So yes, this is a rather tightly wound narrative without the indulgence of unnecessary distractions. Having said that, Richard and Alice incorporates some interesting game mechanics in service to that world and to the general tone of the game. Much has been made of the fact that character movement feels extremely sluggish, and believe me it does, it really, really does. It's my opinion though, that this was a conscious decision on the part of the developers. The slow movement combined with the relentless sound of the snow ratchets up the tension and anxiety in the game, particularly when there are other characters in peril. It makes the world feel claustrophobic and as if it's actively working against you. It doesn't make it any less frustrating mind, but it is ultimately an effective decision.

The one other aspect of the game play that troubles me a bit is that of the multiple endings offered here. There are no less than five possible endings for Richard and Alice, which would seem to indicate the possibility of a branching story line. To be clear on this point, there are absolutely no branches along the way in this story. The ending you get is strictly based on rather arbitrary in-game choices that do not affect the narrative in progress whatsoever. So if you want to see the multiple endings, you'll play through the exact same story multiple times with the only points of differentiation being the endings themselves. It's as if you're reading a Choose Your Own Adventure book in which the only story deviation occurs in the final two pages of the book. Now to be clear the story is excellent, and IMO it does warrant at least one additional play through to pick up on the clues and hints that you may have missed the first time around. But to play through the game five times introduces a sense of drudgery and tedium, particularly when coupled with the slow character movement mentioned above. More damningly it also reduces some of the emotional wallop present in the game with each additional playthrough. Accordingly, if you're going for multiple playthroughs I'd recommend taking a suitable cool down period in betwixt.

I'd recommend this game to fans of visual novels (slightly more so than fans of adventure games), as well as to anyone who appreciates quality storytelling coupled with quality characterization in games, especially so this latter element.
Last edited by nullPointer on Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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emwearz
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by emwearz Mon Jan 19, 2015 3:23 pm

dsheinem wrote::lol: http://steamleft.com/

dsheinem
It would take you...
3877 continuous hours
161 days,13 hours,2 minutes
of gameplay to complete your Steam library


emwearz
It would take you...
4190 continuous hours
174 days,14 hours,42 minutes
of gameplay to complete your Steam library :lol: :lol: :lol:

Maybe we can do it as a team effort.
shwisha
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by shwisha Mon Jan 19, 2015 5:58 pm

Super Castlevania IV

I dabbled with the Castlevania series over the past 25 years but didn't beat any of them until I beat the first one on NES last year. What better way to start of 2015 than beating another one.

Super Castlevania IV was a lot easier than the first, especially at first, but as the game progressed it became more difficult.

I'm thinking of trying Bloodlines next or Castlevania 3 (got 50% through once). I really have no interest in beating/playing Castlevania 2.
Tecmo Pro - My Tecmo Super Bowl Blog.
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nullPointer
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by nullPointer Mon Jan 19, 2015 6:16 pm

shwisha wrote:I'm thinking of trying Bloodlines next or Castlevania 3 (got 50% through once). I really have no interest in beating/playing Castlevania 2.

If you're avoiding Castlevania 2 based on its less than sterling reputation, it really is worth trying out. In a series known for it's stellar music, Simon's Quest featured the first appearance of some songs that are now considered classics within the series. Also although some folks disagree with me on this, I feel like Simon's Quest more than any other game in the series up to that point, set the gameplay pieces in place which would reappear later in the now legendary Symphony of the Night.

Minor Castlevania III spoiler:
(Alucard's appearance in Dracula's Curse notwithstanding).
If on the other hand you're avoiding Simon's Quest based on past personal experience with the title ... uh, never mind and carry on. :) There are certainly better games within the Castlevania series. Despite that though, Simon's Quest does hold an important position within the series, much more so IMO than some of the post-SOTN cookie-cutter titles appearing on the GBA and other systems, which were fine games but ultimately forgettable.
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Fragems
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by Fragems Mon Jan 19, 2015 7:43 pm

emwearz wrote:
dsheinem wrote::lol: http://steamleft.com/

dsheinem
It would take you...
3877 continuous hours
161 days,13 hours,2 minutes
of gameplay to complete your Steam library


emwearz
It would take you...
4190 continuous hours
174 days,14 hours,42 minutes
of gameplay to complete your Steam library :lol: :lol: :lol:

Maybe we can do it as a team effort.


I'm right there with you lets do this shit :lol: .

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shwisha
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by shwisha Mon Jan 19, 2015 11:42 pm

nullPointer wrote:If on the other hand you're avoiding Simon's Quest based on past personal experience with the title ... uh, never mind and carry on. :) There are certainly better games within the Castlevania series. Despite that though, Simon's Quest does hold an important position within the series, much more so IMO than some of the post-SOTN cookie-cutter titles appearing on the GBA and other systems, which were fine games but ultimately forgettable.


Yeah this is me. I definitley agree that it's an important game in the franchise despite all it's short comings. I like to beleive the game was actually rushed and incomplete... otherwise it may have been a stronger game.
Tecmo Pro - My Tecmo Super Bowl Blog.
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J T
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by J T Mon Jan 19, 2015 11:52 pm

It would take you...
7701 continuous hours
320 days,21 hours,34 minutes
of gameplay to complete your Steam library

IN THIS TIME YOU COULD...

Swim across the English Channel 354 times


Never gonna happen.
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BogusMeatFactory
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by BogusMeatFactory Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:56 am

J T wrote:
It would take you...
7701 continuous hours
320 days,21 hours,34 minutes
of gameplay to complete your Steam library

IN THIS TIME YOU COULD...

Swim across the English Channel 354 times


Never gonna happen.


You know you want to do a one year bender. Sleep is for the week! Bed Sores are for the strong!
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fastbilly1
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by fastbilly1 Tue Jan 20, 2015 10:19 am

1. Spelunky
2. Race the Sun
3. Renegade Ops

New
4. Orcs Must Die 1
5. Gun Point
6. Rogue Shooter - close enough

Orcs Must Die 2 is one of my favorite coop games. It is slick, funny, easy for anyone to play, and is a good way to play a quick coop match and feel like something got done. Orcs Must Die 1 on the other hand is slow. Its still a fine game, just after playing 2 it was a chore to beat 1. But I decided it sat on my havent beaten list for long enough.

Gun Point is a noir styled sneaking game where death is not an issue, neither is falling. It is one of the most enjoyable titles I have played and you can finish it twice in an evening (going down both story paths). The controls are spot on, the comedy is surrealist, and the achievements are brilliant.

I fired up Rogue Shooter just to see what it was about. Without really trying I got to fourth level, actually trying I got to the 10th floor and just gave up. It was very samey. There is only a handful of enemies and while it is an enjoyable Wolf3d throwback it is just bland. Had it had coop and a couple more pallets for rooms, it would be a game that I would brag about, but as it stands it is something I cannot recommend.
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by Flake Tue Jan 20, 2015 3:00 pm

1/3: Super Mario Bros 2: Lost Levels (Luigi Run) (3DS VC/NES)
1/4: Super Mario Bros. (Wii / All-Stars)
1/15: Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)
1/20: Super Mario Kart 8 (WiiU)

I'm as done with this game as I can be until the new content comes out later this year. I was very, very happy with the Vanilla 1.0 release of this game but it seems that the game improves with each update and tweak. Unlike with Mario Kart Wii, I don't feel like there is much rubber banding in the AI - the AI is either good or not good and you are not punished for racing well in the first two laps any more than you would be with other real players.

Edit: Derp'd a number
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